“Suddenly streetcars—those clanging, clattering, spark-emitting icons of public transit’s past—are among the hottest and most coveted components of public transit’s future….[W]hat big city in America wouldn’t want to inject just a little of San Francisco’s charm or Portland’s uber-hipness into an urban core that generally tends to close for business at 5 p.m.?”—
New York’s new system is compact and dense. Washington DC’s is expansive and sparse. Seoul’s is bifurcated. Paris’s is comprehensive. The geographic footprint of a city’s bike-sharing system can reveal both the municipality’s level of commitment to transportation alternatives as well as the topography of the surrounding area.
Can’t wait to read this new book by Sue Macy about the fascinating, intertwined history of women, feminism, and bicycles in the early days of velocipedes in America.
Maria Popova has put together an enticing preview over at Brain Pickings, complete with historical photos and illustrations of the outfits worn by women cyclists (absurdly burdensome, to the eye of a jeans-wearing present-day cyclist) and the impressions they made.
You can check for Wheels of Change in the children’s section of your local library, or find it online.
In 1988, commuter Paul Middlewick was staring at a map of the London Underground when he spotted a beady-eyed elephant outlined by the tube lines and a couple stations. The Animals on the Underground project now includes more than 35 critters, including an adorable wombat and a smiling bottlenose whale.
“When rumor first came across the water, a few years ago, of that wonderful and fascinating little two-wheeled machine, upon which one could so gracefully annihilate time and space, the author of this little book was seized with his first attack of Velocipede Fever.”—
Opening lines of “The Velocipede: Its History, Varieties, and Practice,” by J. T. Goddard. The book was published in 1869.
Fun fact from the same book: “Among those who distinguished themselves on the velocipede in England was Michael Faraday the chemist, who frequently drove his machine through the suburbs of London.”
“The streets beneath our feet are getting smart. Pavements are melting into the roads and traffic lights are disappearing. Inspired by the work of scientists and engineers in Holland and Japan, this is a revolution in urban design. Part of it is a movement known as ‘Shared Space’, which promises to dramatically change the way cities look and how we experience them. In Thinking Streets, Angela Saini asks if all these ideas really fulfil the promise of making us all safer, happier and more efficient?”—Thinking Streets (BBC Radio 4)
“[B]efore it could rise into the sky, Manhattan had to create the streets, avenues and blocks that support the skyscrapers. The grid was big government in action, a commercially minded boon to private development and, almost despite itself, a creative template.”—
The exhibit, running through April 15, has been designed as a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the planning document that established Manhattan’s street grid and continues to influence public life.
OpenPlans, New York’s MTA, and Cambridge Systematics are using an open source bus tracking system called One Bus Away (developed at the University of Washington) to create a real-time bus tracking system for Staten Island and later all of New York City. OpenPlans arrival info updated every 15-30 seconds will be available for all local and express bus routes via text message, QR codes, and mobile or web browsers by mid-2013. The data will be open to third-party developers from day one.
Designed by Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth, the “Tiger and Turtle - Magic Mountain” sculpture is a new and unique way for one to experience a roller coaster without all those shrieking screams. Constructed out of steel, tin, and zinc, the sinuous walkway rises 66 ft into the air…